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Before making the decision to purchase a home you may be enamored with, be sure you know your definition of what “home sweet home” is. For some, it may be a sleek, modern vision with marble floors, electrical gadgets and minimalistic in décor. Others may have a vision of a colonial style home with the traditional white columns and dormer windows, filled with antiques. Or, you may be searching for something in-between such as a typical ranch-style home in an established neighborhood. Whatever your criteria, you should always wait until you find the home that’s exactly meant for you. You may have to compromise on some features, but the home is one of the most important and costly purchases you’ll make in your lifetime.  

If you’re purchasing a home for the entire family to enjoy, it might be a good idea to take the family house-hunting as much as possible. You’ll get a feel for what they like and want and what are deal-breakers.

The first step in knowing the definition of your dream house is to make a list of wishes. Assign a rank to each one according to preference. Your first priority may be that the house is on the waterfront. Farther down the list may be granite kitchen counters. By making a list, you’ll learn which wishes are vitally important to your happiness and which may be deal-breakers if that desire isn’t met. It’s highly unlikely you’ll find a home that meets every one of your criteria, but it will help you concentrate on the properties that suit your needs best.

Think about the neighborhood and surroundings. Do you love the idea of being close to shops and restaurants? Or, would you prefer to be in a peaceful setting where all you hear is the sound of the wind through the trees?

One of the most important criteria you need to figure out is how much space you’ll need. If you purchase a home that meets the exact location and style you’re hoping for – but is too small for the family you’ll be frustrated when you have to make it work for the long term.

Do you love to entertain? Then, be sure to include a floor plan in your dream home criteria that will accommodate guests and flow easily from one area to another. Maybe that’s where you want to focus on getting the most square footage and leave the bedrooms smaller.

While an investment of time and money is necessary on fixer upper type of properties, it may be worth it if you’re the type who loves an ongoing project and is handy with tools. Be brutally honest with yourself about how much time and effort you’re willing to invest before becoming involved with transforming the home you buy into your dream home.

Just as you wrote down the features in your future home that will make you happiest – you should also think about compromises that would make you miserable. For example, if you can’t handle constant noise, you probably won’t want a downtown home or living on top of your neighbors.

After you’ve settled on the criteria for your dream home and ranked them according to preference, be sure to tell your agent. He or she will then have a better idea about which houses to show you and both of you will waste less time and effort on the house search.